Event – Yeoville the motherland

2010-05-25 09:52

It was between 1958 and 1963 when the nation and class struggle grew bigger in Africa and around the world. During this period, 17 African countries won their independence and 1960 was then proclaimed the Year of Africa.

On May 25 1963, 31 African leaders convened a summit meeting in the Ethiopia capital, Addis Ababa, to found the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). However, it was on July 9 2002 when OAU gave way to African Union (AU) which comprises 53 member states. Morocco is the only African state not a signatory to the AU.

Forty-six years later the Mother Continent continues to remember and celebrate the day seen as a declaration of independence from colonial powers.

This week, the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) and the Yeoville Bellevue Development Trust, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, launched the first ever Africa Week Festival set to be staged in the heart of the African diaspora community – Yeoville in Johannesburg.

Marc Gbaffou, chairperson of ADF, shares some insights into the planned festival.

D-Empress: The first ever Africa Week Festival in Yeoville – this is a milestone achievement. What are ADF’s hopes for the impact of the festival?
Gbaffou: We hope the people of Yeoville will realise that they might have better opportunities by embracing a pan-African culture and their fellow African brother rather than if they complain about migration and competition. This year, the World Cup focus gives us all an opportunity to adopt and celebrate an African identity. We believe Yeoville’s pan-African identity is an opportunity for business and tourism. Let’s celebrate our African identity.

D-Empress: Why did the ADF choose Yeoville to host the festival?
Gbaffou: Yeoville has a diverse migrant community originating from all over Africa, and this is unique and exciting. It is also relatively stable due to the strong civic structures and the Yeoville culture of tolerance. We believe that Yeoville is a showcase example of an integrated neighbourhood. This doesn’t mean that xenophobic tensions don’t exist, but we hope to overcome them through events like this one.

D-Empress: The commemoration service of those who lost their lives in the xenophobic attacks in 2008 is a poignant event in the festival. Some people say we should move on, others feel it is important to remember so it will never happen again. What do you say?
People lost their lives and we therefore can’t forget about them. We have to remember. The commemoration was created as a source of inspiration for the migrant community to come together and also, to create fertile ground for new ideas about integration.

Commemorations are always political events but remember, this is not about constructing an “us” versus “them”. We focus on inviting South Africans and their local organisations and institutions to be part of this commemoration which does not concern only migrants but is a South African issue.

To find out more visit www.adf.org.za or email africandiasporaforum@gmail.com

»Additional information by timeanddate.com

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